Talking Points: Chipper Jones still matters

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What's the buzz from the world of sports? Here are some items that will have people talking:

1

Chipper Jones is 40 and can't seem to stay healthy for longer than a couple of weeks at a time. But when he is able to play, the Braves are a different team.

Without Jones, they're .500. When Jones plays, they're 13 games over .500.

It's about more than his .316 batting average, .388 OBP and .513 slugging percentage, all of which are team-bests. Jones' presence lengthens the lineup and his leadership makes even tangible differences.

For example, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that Jones finally persuaded Brian McCann to switch from using maple to ash bats last week, and McCann promptly hit a home run that led the Braves to victory.

2

This is hard to imagine, but the Mariners are all the way up to No. 21 in sportingnews.com's Major League Baseball power rankings. Playing the Kansas City Royals always helps the rating. The M's, following their sweep of the Royals, jumped from No. 24 the previous week.

The top five, according to the web site, are: 1. Reds; 2. Nationals; 3. Yankees; 4. Rangers; and 5. Pirates. The site has the Athletics at No. 7 ahead of the Angels at No. 10.

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